Dr Jiwon Hong

BTech(1st Class Hons), PhD


I am a biomedical researcher with skills in molecular biology, cell culture, compositional and particle analyses. After completing a PhD at the University of Auckland in Molecular Medicine in 2009, I worked for a biotechnology company (Androgenix Ltd.) for 4 years developing new technologies to improve sperm functionality for dairy industry. I then returned to the University of Auckland in late 2012 to work on a variety of biomedical research projects in the Applied Surgery and Metabolism Laboratory led by Professor John Windsor, Professor Anthony Phillips and Associate Professor Tony Hickey.  

Research | Current

I am a Hugo Charitable Trust Senior Research Fellow. My research is mostly carried out in the Applied Surgery and Metabolism Laboratory, which is one of the four dedicated cross-faculty units of the Surgical and Translational Research (STaR) Centre.

My current research focuses on ‘acute pancreatitis’ (a sudden inflammation of pancreas) and other acute critical illness (such as major blood loss and septic shock from infection). Acute critical illness can trigger a similar pattern of cascade ending in multiple organ failure and death. This intriguing fact led me to research why this happens and to consider how to develop a method to prevent or treat this condition. Acute critical illness conditions are sudden and severe, and can happen to anyone at any time. I believe that the outcomes from my research will benefit many people of all ages and patient groups - especially if I could find a way to prevent or treat the multiple organ failure associated with this illness. 

In the past few years, I have been studying the role of ‘gut-lymph’, the lymphatic fluid that drains from the gut, as I believe that this is the key route for how toxic factors from the gut are transported, leading to organ failure, in both acute pancreatitis and other critical illnesses.

I am involved in several projects related to the acute pancreatitis and gut-lymph, and a few other biomedical projects:

  • Gut-lymph compositional study of acute pancreatitis and other critical illness

  • Changes of lymphatic vessel in fat tissue next to gut in obesity (collaboration with the Surgical Trials Unit of STaR centre and the Monash University, AUS)

  • Clinical trial to study human gut-lymph (collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, USA)

  • Treatment of acute pancreatitis using lymph-targeting drugs (collaboration with the Monash University, AUS)

  • Treatment of acute pancreatitis using traditional herbal medicine (collaboration with the West China Hospital, China)

  • Treatment of acute pancreatitis using three novel drugs that can reduce inflammation and cell swelling

  • Bacterial extracellular vesicles and their influence onto human host cells

  • Human gut extracellular vesicles and their influence on bacteria

Postgraduate supervision


  • Johanes Kevin Kasim, PhD student (co-supervisor with Professor Dame Margaret Brimble)
  • Victor Maldonado Zimbron, PhD student - 'Human Lymph and Critical Illness' (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Joni White, PhD student - 'The use of eukaryotic extracellular vesicles for communication to the resident and pathogenic microbiome' (co-supervisor with Associate Professor Swift and Professor Phillips)
  • Peter Russell, PhD student - 'The role and treatment of oedema and lymphatic dysfunction in critical illness' (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Soe Min Tun, PhD student - 'Probing the toxicity of mesenteric lymph in critical illness' (co-primary supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Jim Li, BMedSc(Hons) student (co-supervisor with Professors Windsor and Phillips)


  • Alistair Escott, PhD 2020 - 'Towards the treatment of toxic thoracic duct lymph' (co-supervisor with Professors Windsor and Phillips)
  • Smitha Nair, Research technician, 2019-2020 (primary supervisor)
  • Luke Tracy, MSc 2020 - 'The pathogenesis of end organ injury in critical illness' (primary supervisor)
  • Lisa Brown, PhD 2019 - 'Improving percutaneous drainage of infected pancreatic necrosis by drain re-design and enzymatic liquefaction' (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Zana Jury, MSc 2019 - 'Exploring the impact of toxic gut-lymph on mitochondrial function in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome using a model of acute pancreatitis' (co-supervisor with Associate Professor Hickey)
  • Lydia Marriott, PGDipSci 2019 (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Tara Gallagher, Research technician, 2016-2018 (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Luke Tracy, PGDipSci 2018 (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Liam Ferguson, BMedSc(Hons) 2018 - 'Acute Pancreatitis and Cx43 - the effect of lymphatic drainage' (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Sarah Fletcher, BTech SCBT703 Technology Project, WINTEC 2018 (co-supervisor with Dr. Kevin Stewart)
  • Tessa Lambert, Research technician, 2017 (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Kirsten Montgomery, Research technician, 2016-2018 (co-supervisor with Professor Phillips)
  • Neny Sitorus, MSc 2016 - 'Can gut-lymph become toxic for mitochondria in sepsis and acute pancreatitis?' (co-supervisor with Associate Professor Hickey)


  • The first New Zealand recipient of the National Pancreas Foundation Research Grant, USA (2019)
  • The first recipient of the Hugo Charitable Trust research fellow position at the STaR centre (2018)
  • Early Careers Academic Grant award, Association of Commonwealth Universities in London (2014)
  • Sir John Logan Campbell Medical Trust award (2006)
  • University of Auckland doctoral scholarship (2004-2007)


  • Treasurer of ‘Faculty of Science Postdoc Society Committee’ (2019-2020)
  • Representative for School of Biological Sciences of ‘Faculty of Science Postdoc Society Committee’ (2018-current)
  • Designated Lab Person for the Applied Surgery and Metabolism Laboratory (2014-current)

Areas of expertise

  • Critical illness
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Gut-lymph
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Cell culture
  • Molecular biology
  • Proteomics

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Trevaskis, N. L., Lee, G., Escott, A., Phang, K. L., Hong, J., Cao, E., ... Charman, W. N. (2020). Intestinal Lymph Flow, and Lipid and Drug Transport Scale Allometrically From Pre-clinical Species to Humans. FRONTIERS IN PHYSIOLOGY, 1110.3389/fphys.2020.00458
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anthony Phillips, John Windsor
  • Russell, P. S., Hong, J., Windsor, J. A., Itkin, M., & Phillips, A. R. J. (2019). Renal Lymphatics: Anatomy, Physiology, and Clinical Implications. FRONTIERS IN PHYSIOLOGY, 1010.3389/fphys.2019.00251
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Windsor, Anthony Phillips
  • Biswas, K., Cavubati, R., Gunaratna, S., Hoggard, M., Waldvogel-Thurlow, S., Hong, J., ... Douglas, R. G. (2019). Comparison of Subtyping Approaches and the Underlying Drivers of Microbial Signatures for Chronic Rhinosinusitis. mSphere, 4 (1).10.1128/msphere.00679-18
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mike Taylor, Kristi Biswas, Richard Douglas, Brett Wagner
  • Hong, J., Dauros-Singorenko, P., Whitcombe, A., Payne, L., Blenkiron, C., Phillips, A., & Swift, S. (2019). Analysis of the Escherichia coli extracellular vesicle proteome identifies markers of purity and culture conditions. Journal of extracellular vesicles, 8 (1)10.1080/20013078.2019.1632099
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Cherie Blenkiron, Anthony Phillips, Simon Swift, Alana Whitcombe
  • Hong, J., Nachkebia, S., Tun, S. M., Petzer, A., Windsor, J. A., Hickey, A. J., & Phillips, A. R. (2018). Altered Metabolic Profile of Triglyceride-Rich Lipoproteins in Gut-Lymph of Rodent Models of Sepsis and Gut Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 63 (12), 3317-3328. 10.1007/s10620-018-5270-6
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46168
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anthony Phillips, John Windsor, Tony Hickey
  • Hong, J., Dicker, B. L., Jayasinghe, S. N., De Gregorio, F., Tian, H., Han, D. Y., & Hudson, K. R. (2017). Strong inhibition of neutrophil-sperm interaction in cattle by selective phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors. Biol Reprod, 97 (5), 671-687. 10.1093/biolre/iox121
  • Hong, J., Tsai, P., Blenkiron, C., Premkumar, R., Nachkebia, S., Hickey, A., ... Phillips, A. (9/6/2017). Extracellular RNA profiles of rat mesenteric lymph. Poster presented at Lymphatic Forum 2017, Thorne Auditorium, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/35165
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Tsai, Cherie Blenkiron, Tony Hickey, John Windsor, Anthony Phillips
  • Dauros Singorenko, P., Chang, V., Whitcombe, A., Simonov, D., Hong, J., Phillips, A., ... Blenkiron, C. (2017). Isolation of membrane vesicles from prokaryotes: a technical and biological comparison reveals heterogeneity. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 6 (1)10.1080/20013078.2017.1324731
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alana Whitcombe, Anthony Phillips, Simon Swift, Cherie Blenkiron


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 3014
New Zealand

Web links